Agronomic performance and strategies of promoting Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd) in Malawi

Moses Maliro, Allena Laura Njala


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd) has the potential to contribute to Malawi’s food and nutritional security by adaptation to droughts that have become frequent due to climate change. Eleven genotypes of quinoa were introduced in 2012 and evaluated for plant growth and yield performance in different environments of central and southern regions of Malawi to determine the potential for quinoa production in the country. The first trials were conducted at Bunda in Lilongwe and Bembeke in Dedza in 2012 under irrigated conditions. Trials under rainfed conditions were conducted at the Bunda site in the 2012/13 and 2014/15 cropping seasons. Evaluation of thirteen promising genotypes under irrigated conditions (2014 to 2015) was extended to six extension planning areas, including Chiluwa in Salima and Nkhunga (Nkhotakota) as warm environments, Mwansambo (Nkhotakota) as a mildly warm environment, Malomo (Ntchisi) as a mildly cool environment, and Kalira 2 (Ntchisi) and Nalunga (Dowa) as cool environments. The genotypes were laid out in completely randomized block designs with four replicates. The maturity period of the genotypes was early in the warm sites (88 days in Nkhunga and 94 days in Chiluwa) and delayed in the cooler sites (121 days in Nalunga and 120 days in Kalira). On the basis of genotype and site-specific results, the highest grain yields were achieved for Brightest Brilliant Rainbow (BBR) (3,992 kg ha-1), QQ74 (3,652 kg ha-1), Black Seeded (3,426 kg ha-1), Multi-Hued (3,272 kg ha-1) and Puno (3,251 kg ha-1) in Nalunga and in QQ74 (4,311 kg ha-1), BBR (3,331 kg ha-1), Multi-Hued (3,184 kg ha-1) and Cherry Vanilla (3,056 kg ha-1) in Malomo. The lowest yields obtained were from Cherry Vanilla, Red Head (1,276 kg ha-1) and BBR (1,255 kg ha-1) in Chiluwa. Quinoa production is possible in Malawi. The genotypes QQ74, BBR, Multi-Hued, Cherry Vanilla, Bio-Bio, Titicaca and Black Seeded have been released for commercial production. Engagement of both government and nongovernmental organizations with a focus on seed systems, processing and utilization can help to integrate quinoa into the food systems of Malawi.


Adaptation, farmers, irrigated conditions, rainfed conditions, quinoa

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